Death of Neil Armstrong: Americans remember their national hero

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Death of Neil Armstrong: Americans remember their national hero

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Americans have been paying tribute to one of their space heroes following the death of astronaut Neil Armstrong.

The 82-year-old was the first man to walk on the moon.

Many tourists visiting the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC on Saturday said they had idolised Armstrong as children. Several said his first steps on the moon would always be remembered as a key moment in US history.

“We’re sad to hear about it. He certainly was a pioneer and we all respected him in that day and age,” said tourist Barbara Haldi.

Another, Jonni Ocejo reminisced about the historic moon landing: “I was a nine year old kid right? That was a big remembrance for us. We all sat around the TV and we all watched the whole process. It was a big deal. It still is a big deal.”

His fellow astronaut on the Apollo 11 mission Buzz Aldrin said he was deeply saddened at his passing and described Armstrong as “the best pilot I ever knew”.

Former astronaut John Glenn noted that Armstrong played down his part in the lunar mission.

“He didn’t set out on any self aggrandisement program after this (the landing) was over, it was quite the opposite. He went back to being just Neil, which was great. So we’ve lost a good friend but the country has lost a great patriot also.

In a statement, Armstrong’s family said they hoped the next time his supporters would see the moon smiling down on them on clear night, they would think of Neil and give him a wink.